Women's Super Rugby: RFU offers 10 clubs places in 2017 competition

Bristol Ladies v Darlington Mowden Park
Bristol Ladies and Darlington Mowden Park are two of the 10 clubs chosen to participate in the inaugural season of Women's Super Rugby

Ten clubs have been handed spots in the first season of England's new women's domestic rugby union competition, starting in September.

Six of the eight clubs in the 2016-17 Women's Premiership, including leaders Bristol Ladies, have been given places.

The Rugby Football Union will make a multi-million pound investment in the competition's first three years.

Women's Super Rugby is aimed at improving playing standards and increasing participation in the sport.

The number of females playing rugby union grew significantly in the aftermath of England's World Cup victory in 2014 and the RFU want to double the number of current participants to 50,000.

RFU director of professional rugby Nigel Melville said: "This is another significant development for women's rugby in this country.

"Women's Super Rugby will drive standards in the game, both domestically and at an elite level, and continue to encourage more women and girls to play the sport.

"We now have the opportunity to build a world-class domestic competition, with the backing and funding of the RFU, demonstrating the union's commitment to growing the game at all levels."

England win the 2014 Rugby World Cup
World champions England will defend their trophy at the 2017 World Cup, which will be staged in Ireland in August

Women's Super Rugby participants

  • Bristol Ladies
  • Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
  • Firwood Waterloo Ladies
  • Harlequin FC
  • Gloucester-Hartpury Women's RFC
  • Loughborough Students (Lightning)
  • Richmond FC
  • Saracens Women
  • Wasps FC Ladies
  • Worcester Valkyries

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